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Explain Plato's and Aristotle's ideas of form, body, knowledge and soul.

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Introduction

Bianca Revens 12H Explain Plato's and Aristotle's ideas of form, body, knowledge and soul Plato, the Greek philosopher was born in 427 BC in Athens. He was born to an aristocratic family. He eventually became a disciple of Socrates, accepting his basic philosophy and dialectical style of debate. Apart from being monumental throughout the history of philosophy, Plato is known for his exploration of the fundamental problems of natural science, political theory, metaphysics, theology and theory of knowledge. The basis of Plato's philosophy is his theory of ideas, or doctrine of forms. Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stagira, northern Greece. He was brought up by his uncle due to the early deaths of his parents. In 367 BC Aristotle, at the age of seventeen, became a student at Plato's Academy in Athens. After being a student, Aristotle soon became a teacher at the Academy and he was to remain there for twenty years. Aristotle's ideas differed to those of Platos', and he severely criticised Plato's Theory of Forms. In this essay I will discuss Plato's and Aristotle's views and ideas of the forms, body, knowledge and soul. I will show and discuss how they differ and then evaluate whose ideas I think are more appropriate and if Aristotle's criticisms to Plato are valid. ...read more.

Middle

It is through the body that we receive our sense experiences, so that our minds are able to form our opinions and reasons. Our minds are also able to achieve and awareness of the eternal truths beyond the physical world, in the realm of ideas, or forms. All our senses are based in the body and are consequently unreliable. The soul is the realm of reason. And not being physical, the soul can survey the world of ideas. Plato also believed that the soul existed before it inhabited the body. As soon as the soul wakes up in a human body, it has forgotten all the perfect ideas. Then a process begins. As the human being discovers the various forms in the natural world, a vague recollection stirs his soul. Plato calls this yearning eros- meaning love. The soul, then, experiences a 'longing to return to its true origin'. From now on, the body and the whole sensory world is experienced as imperfect and insignificant. The soul yearns to fly home on the wings of love to the world if ideas. It longs to be freed from the chains of the body. Plato also believed that the mind and body are in opposition. The mind wants to understand ideas, to gain real knowledge of the forms; but the body is interested in sense pleasures, and it has its needs such as eating and sleeping which are constantly getting in the way of intellectual pursuits, because they keep interrupting. ...read more.

Conclusion

For Aristotle, knowledge is perception, therefore, if we did not perceive anything, we would not learn or understand anything, and whenever we think of anything, we must at the same time think of an idea. He believed that the natural world is the real world and that perception and sense-experience are the foundations of scientific knowledge. For Plato the reality of the world is in the forms as understood by intellect. For Aristotle, the reality of the world is in 'matter', the stuff the world is made of. Aristotle decided that all substances have two parts: material and structure- or 'matter' and 'form'. Matter and form belong to this world, not to a world bey9ond this world, like Plato's forms. Plato started with the intellect; Aristotle started with perceptions of the natural world. Plato's understanding was mathematical- dealing in concepts which can be worked out without relation to the natural world; Aristotle's understanding was scientific, based on perception, observation and investigation. Although both Plato and Aristotle are considered among the greatest philosophers, they had significant differences between their philosophies. Plato was more "other worldly" while Aristotle focused on concrete things in the world. Whilst Aristotle was intrigued by the concrete world, Plato wanted nothing to do with it. Plato believed that people know forms all along, whi8le Aristotle thought that people had the ability to abstract them from the objects themselves. Although they are quite different, it is still very interesting to read about them both. ...read more.

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